Columbus Dispatch, May 25, 2021
Excerpt from the article:
As members of the Asian American community face an onrush of violent hate crimes, attacks that have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jona Hilario and others said sharing their experiences is essential in the fight against racism.
While there’s been growing awareness nationally, there’s still a line of separation between Asian Americans and other residents on a local level, Hilario, a Hilliard resident, said. In helping educate central Ohioans on the matter, Hilario said events such as the Asian Festival can help bridge the gap.
Through shared common experiences and cultural interests, whether food, dance or music, this year’s festival has even more significance given today’s societal climate, said Hilario, who serves as the co-director of OPAWL — a statewide group of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and nonbinary volunteers who organize social-justice initiatives.
… Sophia Antoun, 32, of the South Side, said having this level of advocacy from non-Asian Americans could provide a sense of empowerment. She’s hopeful the outside support can inspire Asian Americans to reclaim their individual cultures even further.
“We can proactively support people who are doing the work of social justice, supporting their families and actively showing solidarity,” Antoun said. “That’s just as important than showing up to a rally or signing a petition.
“We matter. We belong here and this is our home. It’s not just our home by location, but by the things we give to this community.”